Woodland Rooms, Belvue School

Studio Weave for Belvue School, Northolt

Belvue School, view from playground.
Belvue School, view from playground.

There is a very nice outside/inside thing going on – there is something about inhabiting to a greater or lesser degree that is magical' – Judge Anna Keay

Belvue School is a secondary school for boys and girls with moderate to severe learning difficulties and other needs. The site is adjacent to an under-used woodland, which the school is managing as an educational nature reserve. In 2014 it had already raised enough money to install two shipping containers as storage and support spaces for the woodland, but approached Studio Weave to design some larger, more ambitious extracurricular spaces with a similar budget. The design process included story writing workshops with pupils to identify how the buildings could act as a gatehouse between familiar school territory and the magical and mysterious.

Studio Weave worked with the school to develop 150m2 of facilities. The ‘Cosy Lounge’ is used for teaching, offering connection to wildlife as well as being a private, calm sensory space. The ‘Sociable Kitchen’ is a café, with food preparation area and dining for small groups, while the ‘Messy Barn’ allows for outdoor learning. Concave ceilings throughout create a lower head height as you enter, with the curved soffits spilling illumination from the roof light across its surface.

  • Belvue School, cosy lounge.
    Belvue School, cosy lounge.
1

In parallel to the delivery of the woodland classrooms, Studio Weave worked with a forest management specialist on developing a strategy for the woodland that seeks to bring its benefits to the wider community, by improving biodiversity in the area and addressing the effects of the busy A-road that runs along the back.


See the full MacEwen longlist

Credits

Client Belvue School

Architect Studio Weave

Structural engineer Timberwright

M&E ARUP & Riccardo Zara

Quantity surveyor Jackson Coles